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College Football Conferences

American college football teams play most of their games against schools in their own conferences. The best-known Division I FBS college football conferences are the Big Ten, Pac-12, SEC (Southeastern Conference), ACC (Atlantic Coast Conference), Big 12, and the Big East. These conferences supply more than 60 percent of the players on NFL rosters.

Here’s the lowdown on these well-known college football conferences and the schools in them as of this writing (teams occasionally get juggled around):

  • Big Ten: This conference, which actually has 12 members, is located mostly in the Midwest. Its members are Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota, Nebraska, Northwestern, Ohio State, Penn State, Purdue, and Wisconsin.

  • Pac-12 (formerly the Pac-10): The Pac-12 is located in the western United States. In 2011, Colorado and Utah joined Arizona, Arizona State, Oregon, Oregon State, Stanford, UCLA, University of California at Berkeley, USC, Washington, and Washington State in this conference.

  • SEC: The members of the SEC are situated mostly in the southeastern portion of the country. Its members are Alabama, Arkansas, Auburn, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, LSU, Mississippi (also known as Ole Miss), Mississippi State, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Vanderbilt.

  • ACC: The ACC schools are mostly in the Carolinas and along the East Coast. They include Boston College, Clemson, Duke, Florida State, Georgia Tech, Maryland, Miami, North Carolina, North Carolina State, Virginia, Virginia Tech, and Wake Forest.

  • Big 12: The Big 12 is actually composed of ten teams. The current members are Baylor, Iowa State, Kansas, Kansas State, Missouri, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas, Texas A&M, and Texas Tech.

  • Big East: The Big East includes these football programs: Cincinnati, Connecticut, Louisville, Pittsburgh, Rutgers, South Florida, Syracuse, and West Virginia. In 2012, Texas Christian University (TCU) will join the Big East Conference.

Not all football teams belong to a conference. Navy, Brigham Young, and Notre Dame head the group of football independents. These schools don’t have any trouble scheduling games because of their excellent football heritage. Plus, Notre Dame has its own network television contract.

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